Project Butterfly New Orleans will host its Mama Monologues program on Saturday, March 30th  from 3pm- 5pm at Three Keys @Ace Hotel New Orleans. The event will feature inspiring performances by women from across the city that address topics pertinent to African American girls and women.For more information and for tickets, visit


NEW ORLEANS-  Today Project Butterfly New Orleans releases "Having Our Say: A Policy Platform for African American Girls & Women." This platform was developed by participants in the Project Butterfly New Orleans rites of passage program, an African-centered rites of passage program for girls in grades 9-12. The program serves girls from across the city and works to instill in them a commitment to their communities, a strong cultural identity, leadership skills and positive values. As part of this work, the organization's mentors worked closely with the girls to engage in dialogues about the issues impacting African American girls and their families. This platform is the culmination of those discussions and presents a series of  solutions to the issues most important to them.

Project Butterfly NOLA Executive Director, Rashida Govan said, "I am inspired by the work that our butterflies-in-training put into developing this platform. They are experts on their lived experiences and are best positioned to identify solutions to the challenges they face every day. I am grateful for the support of our Project Butterfly New Orleans mentors who have instilled in our girls the importance of advocacy, a commitment to community and the value and power of girls' voices."  Regarding the experience one "butterfly-in-training" (participant) said, "Things I say impact my life and others. I believe I can speak for people who can't speak for themselves."  This platform is a tool for policy makers and advocates to address social problems pertinent to African American girls and women.

Issue areas  covered in the "Having Our Say" policy platform include criminal justice, economic development, education, health care and housing. Some of the key solutions offered in the platform address mental health care, school suspensions, affordable housing, wage equity and more. For instance, the platform highlights disturbing rates of endorsement of symptoms of suicidality, depression and PTSD amongst girls in New Orleans ages 10-16. The butterflies-in-training propose establishing new standards of care for health care providers to make mental health screenings and services more widely available to African American girls. They also note that African American girls are four times more likely to be incarcerated than White girls. Also noted is that African American women represent 53% of women stopped by police, although African Americans represent only 13% of the U.S. population. The over-incarceration and racial profiling of African American girls and women is rarely discussed, leading the butterflies-in-training to recommend that a commission be established to examine criminal justice issues impacting African American girls and women.

To read the Having Our Say policy platform, visit To endorse the platform visit, . For questions about the policy platform or to learn more about Project Butterfly New Orleans visit, or email

Having Our Say (pdf)